It wasn’t a ribbon cutting—it was a ribbon joining, as Hill District residents joined federal state, county and city officials to celebrate the completion of the Lower Hill Infrastructure Project, which included new roads to reconnect the Hill with Downtown.
“We’re working to correct a mistake that is over 70 years old,” said Gov. Tom Wolf at the Oct. 7 event. “And in the process, we’re setting the table for really effective development in Pittsburgh.”
The work, which has been underway on the 28-acre site of the former Civic Arena, includes new sewer and rainwater lines, electrical conduit, new trees and new LED streetlights that illuminate new roads.
One entirely new street—Fullerton—connects Bedford Avenue to Centre Avenue. Wylie Avenue has a new stretch that connects Fullerton to Crawford Street.
The next phase will see another new street—Logan—that will connect Bedford and Centre avenues. Wylie Avenue will connect to Logan and a new intersection will be created at Logan and Centre.
All of this is in an effort to reclaim the land taken by eminent domain in the 1950s, which was to see massive development around the state-of the-art Civic Arena. But only the arena, and its sea of parking lots were ever built, and the taking destroyed 1,300 buildings and displaced more than 8,000 residents and more than 400 businesses, and cut off the predominantly Black Hill from the rest of the city.